St. Luke's Introduces Free Medical School Education

|Aug 20|magazine7 min read

BETHLEHEM, Pa., Aug. 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- For would-be doctors, the dream of attending medical school is fraught. Graduates are often saddled with extreme debt.

St. Luke's University Health Network is looking to change that. St. Luke's will provide up to $177,000 in tuition assistance for students who pursue a career in family medicine or general internal medicine and who choose to work at St. Luke's after graduation. In other words, a nearly FREE medical school education.

"It's a huge win for everyone," says Joel Rosenfeld, MD, Chief Academic Officer for St. Luke's and Senior Associate Dean at Lewis Katz School of Medicine (LKSOM) at Temple University. "We will be able to help future physicians pursue the career they want, while essentially paying for their medical school costs. In turn, we will be able to grow our physician base and keep these vibrant, young doctors right here, in the Lehigh Valley."

Family medicine and general internal medicine doctors – otherwise known as primary care physicians or PCPs – are in short supply.  With 88.5 million Americans set to reach age 65 by 2050, compared to 40.2 million measured in 2010 , the need for primary care physicians and providers will only continue to grow.

Foreseeing this shortage and its impact, St. Luke's partnered with Temple University 12 years ago to develop the Temple/St. Luke's School of Medicine in Bethlehem, Pa. The school enrolls 40 students per class.

Current students already benefit from significantly reduced tuition thanks to generous donors and programs that St. Luke's offers. This new program will cover the balance.

"We are proud of our relationship with St. Luke's, which has grown throughout the years," says John Daly, MD, Interim Dean of LKSOM. "This substantial tuition program illustrates their dedication to their students and the community."

The tuition assistance program is open to ALL medical students, not just Temple/St. Luke's students. To be eligible for the tuition reimbursement, students must be accepted into and complete their primary care residency with St. Luke's and then commit to employment with St. Luke's as a PCP.

"The goal of attracting and hiring more primary care providers is essential to the way we provide care," says Dr. Rosenfeld.

A good, ongoing relationship with a primary care physician is shown to improve a patient's understanding of their health and any conditions they may have. This, in turn, can improve health outcomes, lower costs and improve patient satisfaction.

"The primary care role is so important in medicine and this program will help students looking to pursue this critical field."

About St. Luke's
Founded in 1872, St. Luke's University Health Network (SLUHN) is a fully integrated, regional, non-profit network of more than 16,000 employees providing services at 12 hospitals and 300 outpatient sites. With annual net revenue greater than $2 billion, the Network's service area includes 11 counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Dedicated to advancing medical education, St. Luke's is the preeminent teaching hospital in central-eastern Pennsylvania.

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SOURCE St. Luke's University Health Network